‘Cunch’, ‘country’, ‘OT’, ‘not about’ and recently, what mainstream media and police refer to as ‘County Lines’, are all names for when individuals or gangs use vulnerable young people and adults to transport drugs from where they live, which is usually a major city, to another town. More often than not, the parents or carers of the young person who does this do not know where they are going or what they are involved in, which leads to them being reported as missing.
When I first started working in education, one of my worst nightmares was waking up to the news that a young person I work with was missing. This nightmare became a reality more than once, and soon enough young people that I’d worked with previously or was working with currently were going missing often.
This mirrored my childhood. By the time I hit secondary school, I started to see childhood friends in expensive clothing with the latest technology, things that I knew they didn’t get from their parents. I came to find out that this was from selling drugs in ‘cunch’. If I knew one thing, it was that once you started, you rarely stopped, and so the cycle of going missing began. They would leave one day and appear a week later, or even longer. All you could do was hope and wait for their return or hear of their arrest. So here I was, an adult, watching something that plagued my childhood, happening to others.